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Poem by David Macbeth Moir

To a Dying Infant

Sleep, little baby! sleep!
      Not in thy cradle bed,
Not on thy mother's breast
Henceforth shall be thy rest,
      But with the quiet dead.

Yes, with the quiet dead,
      Baby! thy rest shall be 
Oh! many a weary wight,
Weary of life and light,
      Would fain lie down with thee!

Flee, little tender nursling!
      Flee to thy grassy nest.
There the first flowers shall blow,
The first pure flake of snow
      Shall fall upon thy breast.

Peace! peace! the little bosom
      Labours with shortening breath;
Peace! peace! that tremulous sigh
Speaks his departure nigh 
      Those are the damps of death.

I've seen thee in thy beauty,
      A thing all health and glee;
But never then, wert thou
So beautiful, as now,
      Baby! thou seem'st to me.

Thine upturn'd eyes glazed over
      Like harebells wet with dew
Already veil'd and hid
By the convulsed lid,
      Their pupils darkly blue.

Thy little mouth half open,
      The soft lip quivering,
As if, like summer air,
Ruffling the rose leaves, there
      Thy soul were fluttering.

Mount up, immortal essence!
      Young spirit! hence  depart!
And is this death? dread thing!
If such thy visiting,
      How beautiful thou art!

God took thee in His mercy.
      A lamb untask'd  untried 
He fought the fight for thee,
He won the victory 
      And thou art sanctified.

I look around, and see
      The evil ways of men,
And oh, beloved child!
I'm more than reconciled
      To thy departure then.

The little arms that clasp'd me.
      The innocent lips that press'd,
Would they have been as pure
Till now, as when of yore
      I lull'd thee on my breast?

Now, like a dewdrop shrined
      Within a crystal stone,
Thou'rt safe in heaven, my dove!
Safe with the source of love
      The everlasting One!

And when the hour arrives,
      From flesh that sets me free,
Thy spirit may await
The first at heaven's gate,
      To meet and welcome me.

David Macbeth Moir

David Macbeth Moir's other poems:
  1. An Evening Sketch
  2. Thomsons Birthplace
  3. Kelburn Castle
  4. Langside
  5. Lines Written in the Isle of Bute

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